Is this a good way to find the length of a dynamically allocated array?

I have a Matrix class and I want to pass an array to the constructor in order to set the values of the matrix dynamically. I found that if I allocate an array like this:

double **array;
array = new double*[3];
array[0] = new double[2];
array[1] = new double[2];
array[2] = new double[2];
array[0][0] = 1;
array[0][1] = 1;
array[1][0] = 1;
array[1][1] = 1;
array[2][0] = 1;
array[2][1] = 1;

I can get the number of rows and cols using a method like this:

int getNRows(double **data){
  int size = 0;
  return size;

int getNCols(double **data){
  int size = 0;
  return size;

Is this ok or should I stick to the vector declaration?


Your assumption is totally wrong; you cannot obtain the size in any way close to what you propose. That's utterly undefined and dangerous behaviour.

Here's a pseudo-rule (i.e. it's not true, but unless you understand why it's not true, it applies to you):

Don't use pointers. Don't use new and delete. (And don't say using namespace std;.)

The one and only way in which you should be doing this is with C++ containers.

A vector of vectors would be the first shot, though a flat vector accessed in strides may be better, and Boost.multi_array may even be the best:

  • std::vector< std::vector<double> > v (3, std::vector<double>(2));

  • std::array<std::array<double, 2>, 3>

  • std::vector<double> v(6);, and use v[i + 2 *j] etc.

  • Boost.MultiArray

You are relying on undefined behaviour; there is no guarantee what will happen when you exceed the bounds of an array. This will not work in general.

Use a std::vector, or another container class.

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